On Day He Died, Bus Driver Tried to Give Suspect Gift

Jimmy Lee Dykes, Charles Albert Poland, Jr., interacted that morning

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 1, 2013 7:41 AM CST | Updated Feb 1, 2013 9:14 AM CST

(Newser) – News about the hostage situation in Alabama is hard to come by, but KAIT-8 has a bizarre update today: The morning Jimmy Lee Dykes allegedly shot and killed bus driver Charles Albert Poland, Jr., and took a little boy on the bus hostage, Poland had tried to give Dykes a gift. Dykes' neighbor says Dykes got on Poland's bus Monday, the day before the shooting. She doesn't know what they talked about, but the next morning Poland offered Dykes eggs and marmalade to thank him for clearing off the driveway where Poland had to turn the bus around.

But Dykes wouldn't take the gifts, so Poland left them at his fence. Dykes told the neighbor's father to take the items, she explains. According to her, Dykes said, "Here. I don't want this." More:

  • Neighbors describe Dykes as "anti-government" and a "survivalist" "Doomsday prepper," and say he's caused trouble in the past; one believes he killed their dog. He's a Vietnam veteran and may suffer from PTSD.
  • As for Poland, he's being described as a hero who was shot as many as four times after refusing to let any children leave the bus with Dykes.
  • But it's difficult to get updates on the hostage situation itself, KAIT-8 notes, because authorities don't want to do or say anything to damage the negotiations. The county sheriff held two briefings yesterday, at which he said negotiations were ongoing and the boy is believed to be OK. He's known only as "Ethan," and he has an unspecified medical condition for which authorities have passed him medication.

In this undated photo released by the Dale County Board of Education, bus driver Charles Albert Poland, Jr., is shown.   (AP Photo/ Dale County Board of Education)
Law enforcement personnel load provisions into a bus during the third day of a hostage crisis involving a 5-year-old boy, in Midland City, Ala, Thursday, Jan 31, 2013.   (AP Photo/The Dothan Eagle, Jay Hare)
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